End-of-Life Care Advocacy Group Praises MD House for Passing End-of-Life Option Act

Group Urges Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to Approve Bill for Senate Floor Vote

Marcy Gray Rubin, a Chevy Chase resident and former psychotherapist with stage IV breast cancer.Compassion & Choices praised the Maryland House of Delegates for passing the End-of-Life Option Act today by 74 to 66 vote and urged the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to approve the bill as soon as possible for a Senate vote.

The bipartisan legislation, also known as Richard E. Israel and Roger "Pip" Moyer Act, SB311/HB399), would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take if their suffering becomes intolerable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep. There are 68 bill co-sponsors out of 188 lawmakers

“I wish to thank every member of the House of Delegates who heard me and voted for this vital bill,” said Marcy Gray Rubin, a Chevy Chase resident and former psychotherapist. “As someone who has been battling stage IV breast cancer for six years it means everything to me that this bill will allow me to choose a peaceful option.”

The bill sponsors are the Health and Government Operations Committee Chair, Delegate Shane E. Pendergrass (Dist. 13, Howard County), and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Vice-Chair, Senator William (Will) C. Smith, Jr., (Dist. 20/Montgomery County). Other supporters include the ACLU, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ, League of Women Voters of Maryland, Libertarian Party of MarylandMaryland Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Anthony Brown, Marylanders for End-of-Life Options, Suburban Maryland Psychiatric Society, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland, United Seniors of Maryland, WISE (Women Indivisible Strong Effective), and Compassion & Choices Maryland, which is leading the grassroots campaign to pass the bill.

“The floor debate demonstrated that we are all only one bad death away from moving from opposed to support,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices and a Maryland resident for 20+ years who lives in Kensington. “We urge Maryland senators to hear the pleas from their colleagues and constituents and pass this bill now because terminally ill Marylanders need compassionate end-of-life care now.”

“I applaud the House of Delegates for approving this palliative care option, as both a doctor and a terminally ill patient myself,” said David Meyers, MD, a family physician in who lives with his wife and college-aged son in Takoma Park and was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, a terminal form of brain cancer that killed Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy. “This vote gives me hope that this bill will become law soon, so my terminally ill patients and I will have this peaceful option to die, if we need it.”

A Public Policy Polling last month showed Marylanders support medical aid in dying by a 3-1 margin (66% to 20%), including majority support from African Americans (59%) and every other demographic group (Independents: 73%, Democrats: 70%, Republicans: 53%, Whites: 69%, Catholics: 65%, Protestants: 62%, Jews: 67%, and Muslims: 52%). The Maryland State Medical Society adopted a neutral stance on the bill after a 2016 survey showed most of its members supported it.

In addition, three local newspapers have editorialized in support of passing the bill since Feb. 20: The Washington Post, [Easton, MD] Star Democrat and [California, MD] Enterprise.